Setting up the experiments


As a group, we'd been interested in experimenting with forms of governance for a long time. Finally on one weekend in 2013, we went away for a weekend working retreat, and there we finally agreed that this was to be one of our house goals for the year. For over 24 hours we sat and plotting and planned. We discussed which systems interested us and why, what the point of this exploration of governance structures was, what kind of data we could collect, what we'd do with the data and so on. There was much enthusiasm, and perhaps even more skepticism. This data was going to be messy. What we were even trying to do? Was this just a game or was this serious? How could we control for anything such that we could extrapolate anything useful from these experiments? 

In the end, curiosity won over skepticism. And so we began! We agreed to put a small amount of money into the pot each month to be used by each system should it need it. We agreed what things each governance system could change and what it could not. What hours of the day it would apply to us. What goals we wanted the systems to optimize for. We made a plan. 



We decided to recruit a live-in political scientist to help us with the day to day running of the experiment. We created and posted an advert to the political science departments at Berkeley and Stanford. Two months later we had our Governance Czar and we were welcoming her into the fray!

2. Designing the data collection

As a group we investigated different ways to collect data. In the end we decided on a combination of methods. We used the reported app to track out whereabouts, to ping us all a set of specific questions at random points in the day and to monitor our sleep. We installed Rescue Me, a chrome extension on our laptops in order to monitor productivity at work. Finally we built surveys, using Survey Monkey, for weekly, and monthly feedback sessions. Our amazing Governance Czar was in charge of collating the data, putting together and over seeing the meetings, and helping design the next governance system!

3. baseline data

All experiments need some baseline to which things can be compared. For us that was the do-ocracy. For our baseline, we decided to revamp our slumping do-ocracy and live under that for one month whilst we collected our baseline data, and learnt a little about how much (or little as the case may be) people will engage in active data collection. 

4. Feedback from the first month


5. deciding on the next system


6. learning about learning


7. close